As the COVID-19 crisis continues in Minnesota and across the country, the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers are still working to take accessible health care coverage from over 20 million Americans, including 265,000 Minnesotans.
Recently, Attorney General Keith Ellison, other Democratic attorneys general, and the U.S. House filed their opening briefs to the Supreme Court in Texas v. United States. That Republican-led lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. It started as a fringe lawsuit, offering the thinnest of legal rationales for overturning the law. But now at the nation’s highest court — in the middle of a devastating public health crisis — it is the Trump administration’s best chance to ask the Court to strip health care from some of the most vulnerable Americans.
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2012 when I was seven months pregnant. The next year, I relied on the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with preexisting conditions when I left my job to start a small law firm. Because of the ACA, I knew I could purchase health insurance on MNsure that covered my preexisting condition and the extraordinarily expensive prescription medications that I need to treat my disease. Those medications cost tens of thousands of dollars every year, but they are the only treatment that has allowed me to hold my infant, run to catch my toddler, and now bike alongside my daughter.
Eliminating the ACA would be devastating for me and my family. Trump and his allies are attacking one of the very things that could help keep Americans safer. Over 30,000 Minnesotans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and that number grows every day. Access to health care has never been more important than it is right now. Over the life of the ACA the law has improved the health of millions of Americans, including seniors, people of color, women, people with disabilities, those living in poverty, and more.
The Trump administration has been tireless in its work to repeal or weaken the Affordable Care Act dozens of times despite data showing that the ACA has helped over 20 million Americans. When legislative and regulatory attempts to sabotage and undermine the law failed, the president and Republican attorneys general turned to the courts — strategically filing the case at federal courts dominated by Republican-appointed judges.
Now, health care coverage for millions of Americans is at stake. And the legislated protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions — those of us most at risk of contracting COVID-19 — is on the line. Before Covid-19 hit, the GOP efforts to repeal the ACA were cruel. In today’s global pandemic, their work to prioritize insurance-company profits over people is unconscionable.
Today’s storm of headlines is often overwhelming. But in between these news stories, the Trump administration continues to force a tired, partisan and nearly decade-long argument that threatens the lives of innocent Americans. Now is the time for greater health protections, not fewer. The president and his allies should drop this outrageous lawsuit and focus on protecting Americans when we need it the most.